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Behavior Habits Learning Mental health Social Media

You need a social media detox! I had one. Here’s what I learned.

If you’re not in control of your social media behavior, it will control you.

Algorithms are addictive.

We live in a wonderfully dangerous world. A world that confronts us daily with multiple realities.

On the good side, the world we live in is developing so that more and more opportunity is available to us.

With the right mindset, an inspiring dose of creativity, and a healthy level of determination and discipline can turn into significant levels of achievement.

On the darker side, technology, fast-paced change, and polarization can turn our world into an increased arena of hostility. 

Algorithms are addictive.

Algorithms are turning us into self-centered, brainwashed, hyper individuals who no longer are receptive to the ideas of others.

Conflict and polarization are on the rise.

A few months ago, I felt I was spending too much time with my screens, often mindlessly scrolling through my apps and their content.

A week of checking my screen time and amount of phone pickups proved that I wasn’t being mindful and intentional about my screen usage.

I was wasting time.

While I always had been intentional about why I engaged with LinkedIn and Instagram, they no longer served their purpose. 

LinkedIn has become the Facebook for the work community.

Instagram can lure you in when you deviate from your tightly selected interests. When you fall into the trap of following too many, you will soon be scrolling away to keep up.

The good news was that Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter never got to me.

So, I saved at least some time compared to those frantically trying to keep up with their social media daily.

To the level, for example, they get agitated when they can’t post anything from a concert or sports event they visited because phones are not allowed.

Yes, that’s how far we have fallen.

So, I decided to quit on social media. I deleted my Instagram account, which is already a complex process. Meta tries everything to keep you on board.

I kept LinkedIn but limited my visits and decided not to post for a while. 

Here’s what I learned.

First, I didn’t miss it at all. I was expecting some withdrawal behavior, but that was not the case. I never felt any anxiety or stress. No ‘fear of missing out’ symptoms.

Second, I used the time I gained to read and learn more. I spent more time digesting content that created meaningful learning. I always told myself that the exciting stuff I was following would help me grow. The content I chose myself helped me grow at a faster pace. 

Third, I started to pay more attention to what I didn’t know or see before. I knew my social media behavior had made me see things I wanted. But I also wanted to be surprised, inspired, and curious by insights I didn’t necessarily want to see. So, I started looking for topics outside the algorithms that interested me. Psychology, for example. 

Fourth, I also conducted a newsletter detox. For two weeks, I reviewed my daily inbox for newsletter signups and asked myself whether this newsletter was still serving its purpose. The result was that I deleted tens of newsletters I had signed up for.

Consequently, I now feel in control of the content I choose to absorb and have more time to do things I love to do.

That’s why you need a detox as well. You won’t regret it.

Your turn: Detox?

Erikjan

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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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